Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ducey 'Next Step' Watch: 2 Month Anniversary

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 12:43 PM

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Two months ago when Prop 123 passed, Governor Ducey said we had taken a "first step" toward addressing Arizona's chronic underfunding of K-12 education. Everyone acknowledged it was a shaky, uncertain step. Some were pleased to see what they thought was a wobbly step forward by the young 'un, while others thought it was a dangerous step backwards, but few people thought that one step was all we needed.

On the two month anniversary, the toddler has yet to take a second step, and its fathers and mothers—the Ducey machine, the business community, education groups—appear to be neglecting their child, if not abandoning it entirely.

An acknowledgement of the two month anniversary of that first step is in order—a cake, candles, something to mark the occasion. Since the parents of the tyke don't appear to be in a celebratory mood, I will take it upon myself to blow out the candles and make a few wishes.

My first wish is that Governor Ducey reveal his plans for the next step to improve K-12 education. If he plans to increase the education budget next legislative session, that would be hopeful. If all he wants to do is shift around the deck chairs, using his Classrooms First Initiatives Council to move the cushiest chaises in the areas where the wealthiest Arizonans hang out, it would be helpful to know that so people can protest against his anti-poor, anti-minority agenda.

My second wish is that pro-education groups and individuals who worked with Ducey to pass Prop 123 start talking to the public about school funding once again. The Arizona Education Association and the Arizona School Boards Association, among others who promised they would continue pushing for more funding, need to make their voices heard so the funding issue doesn't wither away. Gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal, who ran against Ducey then embraced him like his best buddy in an ad promoting Prop 123, should speak out as well. If any of them are in behind-closed-doors meetings with Ducey, they need to throw open the doors and let the rest of us see what's happening. Otherwise, they'll be listened to by the folks holding all the cards, who will look very serious and nod their heads solemnly, then be left sputtering and fuming when they realize all their fine plans and ideas were ignored.

My final wish is that the hard hearts of the anti-public-education establishment be softened so they realize that investing in the education of our children is better for their souls and for the future of Arizona than helping Arizona's one percent, who are making out better than at any time since the gilded age a century ago, get their hands on even more money than they already have.

Here's hoping the three month anniversary of the Ducey 'Next Step' Watch is happier than the second.

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